Friday, September 11, 2009

The ObamaCare Questions I'd Ask at a Town Hall Meeting

President Obama, you've said, again and again, that ObamaCare would not cover illegals. Yet ObamaCare has no money allocated to verifying that a patient is a legal resident of the U.S.

And to the extent illegals wouldn't be covered under ObamaCare, you have repeatedly said you plan to make all illegals legal: the so-called "path to citizenship." So won't all these 13 to 20 million illegals become legal and thus covered under ObamaCare?

And is that fair? Today, every year(!), medical errors result in more than 100,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of additional people who stay sicker or get sick because of those errors.

Indeed, two months ago, a dear friend, a healthy 54-year-old woman, went in for routine surgery and came out a near-vegetable--the surgeon nicked a critical blood vessel.

With the same number of doctors, nurses, MRI machines, and operating rooms, ObamaCare will attempt to provide health care for 47,000,000 additional people--a group with high health care needs and low ability to pay. Thus, many more medical errors will occur and so, many legal residents who took care of their health and paid into the system will die, get sicker, or stay sicker because you, Mr. President, are forcing us to share our health care with a cohort of 47,000,000 high-use people, whether they are legal or not, whether they pay or not.

I ask you, Mr. President, what would you say to those countless people who unnecessarily will get sick, or to the family members of those who die because you decided to provide health care without regard to people's legality or whether they paid their fair share?

Isn't it fairer to have a basic public plan for the poor and a much higher-quality plan for those who pay into the system? Isn't it unfair to make legal residents pay for illegals, thereby endangering those legal residents' lives?

And a final question: Do you really think that ultimately, we will have a more just country, a better life for our residents, when you force the responsible taxpayer to reward the lawbreakers (the illegals) the wild-risk-takers (people who borrowed beyond their means and the banks that lent to them) and the incompetent (the US car makers)?


Anonymous said...

With a question like this, Mr. Nemko, the president would either ignore you or give the same rhetoric he's given before, and the mainstream media would write you off as disruptive or trying to block true debate.

This appeared today on,8599,1921713,00.html

"The controversy over Republican Representative Joe Wilson's shouting 'You lie!' at the President over his claim that illegal immigrants wouldn't benefit from health-care reform apparently sparked some reconsideration of the relevant language. 'We really thought we'd resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President's speech last night, we wanted to go back and drill down again,' said Senator Kent Conrad, one of the Democrats in the talks after a meeting Thursday morning. Later that afternoon, Baucus said the group would add a proof-of-citizenship requirement for participation in the new health exchange — a move likely to inflame the left."

So ObamaCare would not cover illegals, yet Congress feels the need to change the language. Right.

Of course, if the president is serious about taking on immigration reform (or amnesty) next year, this will be a moot point, anyway.

And what if it's not the same number of doctors? I've heard before that some doctors would quit if the president's health care/insurance reform came to pass. How many, if that's true? And how many more would want to study medicine if they knew what they were getting into? I'd bet that many would-be doctors will study something else or somewhere else. Is there any possibility that more hospitals would close because they couldn't afford to care for more people?

Something happened to me earlier this week at work. We are offered 3 different health care plans, and they just took on a new provider. The employees are encouraged (not required) to switch to this new provider, hoping that this will cut costs. (This is not me musing or wondering. This was said in the company-wide e-mail.) If any choose to stay with the other two plans, they will now have to pay a premium, whereas previously they didn't.

This reminded me of what may happen down the line if universal health care comes to pass. We will all be encouraged to choose the "public option" to cut costs, not necessarily because it provides better care.

Anonymous said...

First of all, you are already paying for those 13 to 20 milllion illegals and they are already "endangering" your life: they clog up the emergency rooms because those are their only source of health care.

If they had access to routine care, their medical needs wouldn't be so high and people who truly need critical care would be better taken care of.

They are here and won't be going anywhere as long as American businesses want to hire them as cheap sources of labor and as long as Americans don't want to do the kinds of work they do for the wages they get.

Illegals aside, there are also many hard-working Americans with full-time jobs who still cannot afford medical coverage.

I lived in France for 6 years and I got much better medical care there than I ever got here, despite that I have always had what is considered in this country good medical insurance (Oxford).

In France I had a mountain biking accident and got excellent care and didn't have to wait in an overcrowded emergency room. Same goes for my mother-in-law who suffered a stroke.

I have never needed emergency care in the U.S., but both of my elderly parents have and in comparison it almost feels like the third world here.

Whenver I went for a routine office visit in France, I never had to wait in a crowded waiting room for an hour or more like I do here.

Primary care doctors in the U.S. are becoming scarce and those that remained are overworked (and thus more prone to error) because of the hoops they have to go through for the insurance companies.

Doctors may not be as rich in France as they are here, but the ones I've met have a very nice quality of life and enjoy their work. There is no shortage of medical personnel in France that I know of, despite universal health coverage for all.

Because of universal health coverage, doctors in France are able to prescribe tests and treatments that they truly deem medically most appropriate, rather than having to compromise because of the insurance companies.

Marty Nemko said...

Anonymous, it is dangerous to assume because a health care system works in France (and I don't know if it does, overall), that it will work in the U.S. We have a much higher percentage of people with high health care needs who will pay little or nothing into the system.

Kelly said...

Anonymous 8:27: You should read this City Journal piece on Paying for Le Treatment. Health care doesn't get paid for in a vacuum, folks, and contrary to the Left's cherished belief, there is no inherent right to a certain level of health care.

Marty, to your list I would simply add "What about tort reform?" I suspect you left it out because of your concern with medical errors, but take it from someone who once spent a dismal year working for a medical malpractice mill -- I mean law firm. Eight out of ten medmal suits are frivolous, and of the remaining two, one has a plaintiff who expects to get rich beyond anything his damages actually merit. We could amply compensate the real victims while still saving millions by not paying out undeserved amounts to the greedy but undamaged.

Anonymous said...

If you don't know if the healthcare system in, say, France works or not, that implies that you're also not sure how many people with high healthcare needs there are in either their population or in ours.

A lot of our 'high healthcare needs' visits are being racked up due to the epidemic of diabetes going on across the country. Many patients find out they are diabetic only after ER admission - and unfortunately, by the time a diabetic is so ill that they are being admitted to the ER, it is likely that they are about to become a frequent flier.

This is one reason why Kaiser and the California Healthcare Foundation are trying to get big improvements in managing diabetic patients in the community now, funding projects to do just that. But there are a lot of chronic conditions which can and should be managed that way; we don't have a system in place for doing it.

It's good for the patients - but it's also good for Kaiser, who would rather see their ERs used for nonpreventable emergencies rather than to address what amounts to benign neglect. This neglect is both by patients and by a whole constellation of factors which together make it easier to eat a terrible diet than a decent one.

To bring it back to you, I think one of those factors could be called disregard for work/life balance: for people who never or rarely eat with companions or family, I think mealtime is a lot likelier to be unhealthy than healthy. Higher in sugar, in prepared foods with excess salt, fat, and calories these meals may contribute to many of the chronic illnesses that kill men earlier than women - high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, for instance.

Dave said...

"Isn't it fairer to have a basic public plan for the poor and a much higher-quality plan for those who pay into the system?"

I thought all men were created equal.

brain said...

Here's a funny music video making fun of Obamacare, and the progressive view of their "New America:"